BLM UAS crews flew 488 aerial ignition missions for just over 110 hours of total flight time in 2020. As the map shows, IGNIS aerial ignition missions stretched from prescribed fire support in the Southeast to widespread use on incidents in California.
According to the BLM report: “Aerial ignition with UAS-provided fire managers with a safe and efficient tool for firing operations, keeping personnel out of hazardous and risky situations. In situations where firing operations are in steep terrain or are time-critical, UAS aerial ignition has excelled.”
The report went on to say: “BLM UAS program leadership, in conjunction with interagency partners, began 2020 by assisting land managers in the southeastern United States with prescribed fire. Using the IGNIS 2 aerial ignition payload, operators were able to efficiently and safely conduct burning operations and reconnaissance.
The interagency collaboration benefited the UAS community by providing valuable training opportunities and experience for operators. UAS operators treated approximately 15,000 acres during the spring of 2020.